Stein Collectors International
Featured Stein ~ December 2022

Santa Character Steins
              Steve Steigerwald - SCI Master Steinologist, Member of Burgermeisters

This year's edition of the holiday stein series (I can't believe that this is my 4th installment!) is devoted to three Santa Character steins. (Three may really be a misnomer because there are only 2 different forms.)

The first is a cross-product stein which advertises Coca-Cola but which is part of the Anheuser Busch series. While Anheuser Busch had a long tradition of producing holiday steins beginning in 1980 with CS19, this is the only figural Santa Claus stein that I am aware of that was marketed by Anheuser Busch.

Bearing "CS 394" on the base with a copyright date of 1999, it is an 11-ΒΌ inch tall three-dimensional depiction of Santa Claus seated on a stool. Clad in his customary red suit with white fur trim, black belt and brown boots, he appears with his head tilted slightly to his left while his full white beard flows from his face. He is not wearing his typical hat and has bare hands. In his left hand he has a toy rabbit on a wheeled base and in his right hand is the iconic Coca-Cola bottle. At the base between his legs is a wrapped gift and a teddy bear as well as a toy drum. The skin of the drum bears one of the vintage Coca-Cola advertising depictions. To Santa's left is a large wrapped gift and a sack presumably filled with toys that has a toy truck, ball and windmill atop it. To his right are a toy giraffe, lamb and train engine as well as a couple of wrapped gifts.

Santa's head and upper shoulders form the hollow lid which has a flat metal insert inside. The tang for the hinge is attached to the flat metal insert on one side and the hinge on the other. The hinge is attached to the handle in an atypical manner-iInstead of using a strap to attach the pewter to the handle, the shank is embedded into the handle and glued in place.

The markings indicate that the Copyright is held by Coca-Cola, that it was marketed by Anheuser-Busch and that it was made in Germany. The base markings are in English and French. I have not been able to determine why they are in French as there does not appear to be anything from France related to this stein. Production was "limited" to 10,000 pieces. The Beer Stein Library indicates that it was made by an entity known as PKT which may be Prazisions-Kunststoff-Teile GmbH in Tiefenbronn, Germany. The Beer Stein Library also indicates it should sell for $50 to $75 (someone should tell the sellers on Ebay because the advertisements and sales for the stein are for a lot more than that). This stein is regularly advertised for sale on Ebay.

The second (and third) steins are also Coca-Cola steins, both copyrighted in 1998. Like three of the steins shown in the December, 2021 Featured Stein article on this website, they are based on a design by Haddon Sundblom for the Coca-Cola Company. The stein is styled after his 1948 painting entitled "Hospitality." In the painting, Santa is featured stopping during his rounds to enjoy a refreshing glass of Coca-Cola, having dropped his bag of toys on a stool.

Santa Claus has a smiling face, also tilted slightly to his left. He has his typical long flowing beard and is wearing his red Santa hat with white fur trim and gold balls at the tip. A sprig of holly with red berries is tucked in his hat, a tradition preceding the celebration of Christmas, going back to the Roman festival of Saturnalia where branches of the spiny leafed plant with small red berries were exchanged as tokens of friendship. Sundblom may have adapted the hat and holly from artist Thomas Nast's depictions of Santa Claus.

The top of Santa's body down to the of of his belt forms the lid. Like the CS 394, it is also hollow with a flat metal insert attached to the tang. The tang is attached to a hinge which leads to the shank. The shank is attached to the handle with a strap.

Santa stands beside a stool on which sits a sack of toys and wrapped gifts. His right arm is raised to take a drink from a Coca-Cola glass held in his hand. A Coca-Cola bottle appears on either side of the handle, along with an oval bearing the Coca-Cola logo. Except for the difference in color of the Coca-Cola glass, the metal fittings and the handle embellishments, these two steins are the same.

The base markings on these steins are entirely in English. It was produced in Germany and distributed by M. Cornell Importers, Inc. (the importers of most of SCI's convention recent steins). It is copyrighted by Coca-Cola and is a limited edition of 5,000 steins. It is unknown whether the limited edition of 5000 applies to each of them, or if it applies to both together.

In terms of observed availability, CS 394 is most readily available; there are fewer of the pewter-colored version described above, and even fewer of the gold-colored version.

Best wishes to everyone for a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

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